Health care should be above the murky world of politics
12 Apr 2007 - JG
It is reported today, in the Telegraph, that the Government spends as much as 85p in every £1 spent on health in Labour Constituencies. It is not the first time that we have learnt the Government has been using financial incentives to win votes and I'm sure it won't be the last. There have been the classic Gordon Brown tax freezes and handouts in election years to curry favour with the voters over the past few years. Now details from a Parliamentary question show that of the 46 multi-million-pound hospitals built in England since Tony Blair came to power, 33 are in Labour areas. That amounts to £3.5 billion out of a total spend of £4.1 billion.
The Tories have highlighted the case of Patricia Hewitt over turning a decision to build a new critical care hospital on the site of Sutton Hospital, in the Sutton and Cheam constituency of Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow, despite independent advice to the contrary. Instead Hewitt recommended that the new hospital should be built at St Helier, in the Mitcham and Morden constituency of a Labour MP, Siobhan McDonagh. All of this is completely ethically wrong, if the charges are true, but it is also a complete waste of our money. Who is actually benefiting from a system where the government can "buy" votes in the long run? No-one of course, because we are paying for services that are not needed or badly placed. Health care should be above the murky world of politics.